1. Daniel Rezende certainly did a good job with editing City of God. The editing style is very fast paced and vivid. It fits the drug/gang themes of the film well and it even gets your heart racing watching it. The fast cuts and different point of views( especially in the opening scene) really set the tone and grabs your total attention.
2. Having no professional actors in this film really brought out a realness to the roles. I didn’t know they were scouted from the favelas until after I watched the movie. I just thought they were really good actors. I guess they were just comfortable with their roles because they were used to life in the slums. If the director chose professional actors I don’t think the film would have turned out as great. The acting and grittiness reminded me of the show The Wire, which like City Of God used young people from impoverished backgrounds to add a level of realness.
3. The fact that the film makers are Brazilian is only fitting. If City Of God was a Hollywood film I doubt it would have been as authentic. I honestly cant say what the Hollywood City Of God would have looked like but I’m imagining more explosions and a different musical score.
4. The violence and poverty in the favelas is represented as an everyday thing. The film does not shy away from portraying the violence of everyday life in the slums of Brazil. You can see that the characters in the film are desperate and their only way out is a life of crime. Rocket is an exception to the group though. He represents hope and doing things the right way to get out of the favelas.
5. The role of the Media in this film is that of a comfortable observer. They want to capitalize on the craziness going on with the drug wars. The people working for the newspaper all seem to be middle class white Brazilians that have no experience with the people living in the slums. Even though Rocket’s big break came from being published on the front page, the lady that put the photo there did not think of anyone but herself and the newspaper. She didn’t consider the fact that Rocket could be put in danger for exposing the identities of Lil Ze and his gang.
6. The police in City Of God were corrupt. They seemed undermanned and unable to control the favelas, so they joined the chaos and tried to profit from it. I think the directors were trying to show that there are two sides to the problem and that something must be done to improve their police force.
Festival du Nouveau Cinema is a showcase of all types of cinema. They show everything from animated features to showcases of multiple experimental films like the ones we saw last Tuesday.
I think that the description for “Expérimentations” is spot on. The films certainly pushed the limits of my perception in an almost trance-like way. I might have added that the whole experience is a visual trip.
I would say that overall I enjoyed “Expérimentations”. I was captivated with a lot of the films but was a little bummed out that To The Wolf Of Madragoa didn’t play in its entirety. The only film I didn’t like was Workers Leaving the Job Site. The silence was unnerving and it seemed to drag on too long.
I do think that it was well curated, except for Workers Leaving the Job Site. It just seemed out of place in my opinion.
The one film that I remember the most was Masahiro Tsutani’s 2012 film Between Regularity and Irregularity. It stuck with me mainly because I was completely overwhelmed watching it and it was bordering on unpleasant. The film before it was long and pleasant and then Masahiro’s film came on and it felt like 1,000 volts running through my body. I almost wanted to look away but couldn’t because I knew I would probably never see this again and had to cherish it. The film was very modern, very digital and technical. I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing at the time. I read the synopsis when I got home and the film was trying the emulate the firing of nerve cells. I loved the way he paired the sound with the sharp cuts. Every time the image cut it was like a punch. I felt like I was getting beaten up. After the first couple of minutes I was thinking to myself that a break from all this convulsion would be nice and then the smoke scenes started. It was perfect timing. I would love to see some other work by this film maker. Overall Between Regularity and Irregularity was the most memorable film for me.
Reel Injun is a critically acclaimed Documentary directed by Neil Diamond. It was released in 2011 and won three Gemini awards.
Reel Injun is directed from Neil’s point of view. His view being that for the most part Native American people or Indians have not been properly recognised in American film. He gets his point across primarily by showing archival footage and interviewing various actors and Native people. This film really opened my eyes to the misrepresentation of Natives in cinema. Two extremes of Native representation shown in the documentary would be the 1939 film Stagecoach directed by John Ford and the 2001 film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner which was written, directed and acted completely in Inuktitut. Stagecoach is a classic western film starring John Wayne and Claire Trevor. It is the type of western that glorifies the cowboy and portrays the natives as savages. At one point Reel Injun shows some footage of John Wayne smashing a dead Indian in the head with a rock and then shooting the corpse. I’m sure if I was immersed in the film and oblivious to the connotations of the scene I wouldn’t have batted an eye, but Reel Injun puts that scene and many like it into perspective. Stagecoach was after all made by and made for middle America of the 1930’s. Mostly every film in that era was marketed towards white people, so it was common to have the white cowboy hero slaying ”savages”. It was also a very politically incorrect time and unfortunately I don’t think John Ford had any incentive to portray Native Americans properly. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner has a much different depiction of Native Americans. The Fast Runner is a film written and acted in the Inuit language Inuktitut. In Reel Injun, native director Chris Eyre praises its authenticity and says it’s the most Native film ever made. Based on the footage shown in the film, The Fast Runner almost looks like a documentary for National Geographic.
Overall I believe that Neil Diamond’s goal was to bring Native awareness up and break the stereotypical view of Natives brought on by Hollywood. He certainly enlightened me to these issues but Hollywood is another story. In the recent film The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp plays a very typically Hollywood Indian, so it looks like nothing has really changed. On a good note Canadian cinema seems to really understand Neil’s point of view and if films like Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner continue to be made maybe the point will get across to Hollywood.
Review of Reviews
I chose to compare and contrast two reviews of Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film Only God Forgives. The film has a curious rating of only 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, so its close to being split right down the middle in terms of like/dislike ratio.
The first review I chose was by Ann Hornaday from the Washington Post. Its safe to say that Ann disliked the film, maybe even appropriate to say she loathed it. The second review I chose was by Blake Howard from graffiti with punctuation. Blake definitely represents the other half that loved the film. He almost gave it a perfect rating of four and a half stars out of five, whereas Ann Hornaday gave it an underwhelming one star out of five.
Blake Howard describes the ultra violence in this film as a thing of wonder and beauty and he sees Ryan Gosling’s character as intense and passionate. Ann Hornaday would vehemently disagree with Blake’s review since she described the constant violence as, ”like the big dance numbers in bad musicals: showy, artificial and meaningless.” There is so much violence in this film that Ann described Nicolas Winding Refn as a fetish filmmaker. His fetish evidently being violence. She claimes that he only made the film to please himself and disregarded the viewer. She also said Ryan Gosling’s performance was dull and a disappointing role for such a good actor. Ann’s review was the only one of the two to compare Only God Forgives to other films by Nicolas Winding Refn. She mentioned his ”impressive” earlier work, Valhalla Rising. Valhalla Rising is also quite violent so its safe to say she isn’t biased to bloody films.
The love or hate frenzy for this film is really quite interesting, it almost makes me want to see the film more. I just hope I like it as much as Blake does.